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In the steps of Vámbéry 
 
 
If the scientists living far away from each other were persuaded about the importance of the virtual centre, it would have a great impact on the whole European-wide Orientalism.

In the steps of Vámbéry - and further …
ZOLTÁN HIZSNYAI


The Vámbéry Civil Society has set new goals and there have been some personal changes in their management. Recently the society asked Professor György Hazai, the famous Hungarian Orientalist and turkologist to fulfil the post of the chairman and the director’s post was filled by the former chairman, Gyula Hodossy. Here is an interview with him.

Were the mentioned changes necessary and what is their impact on the organization’s activity?
At that time by the foundation of the Vámbéry Civil Society our aim was to inform the people of Dunajská Streda about Ármin Vámbéry, which included informational and organizational tasks. Later there turned up the demand of taking up the research of Vámbéry’s life-work, which required scientific work. Now, by the stage of researching Vámbéry’s life-work, the need of Orientalism – the research of those territories that were examined by Vámbéry – has appeared to be natural. An ordinary social organization cannot guarantee the circumstances for a scientific research; therefore we decided to reorganize the Vámbéry Civil Society a little bit. One of the most important points of the reorganization is that Professor György Hazai accepted the invitation of becoming the chairman of the society. This is a great honour for us, because György Hazai is one of the most famous representatives of Orientalism in Europe. His willingness to help may support the case in such an extent, that the Vámbéry Civil Society could be accepted as a professional forum. Furthermore we realized that all the activities to do with the research should be handled in a separate organizational unit, within the frames of the civil society. The Vámbéry Scientific College was founded right on the above mentioned occasion. The chairman of the College is Professor István Vásáry, and the secretary’s function is fulfilled by Mihály Dobrovits. Both of them are university professors and they have been dealing with Orientalism for a long time and alongside Professor György Hazai Mr. Vásáry and Mr. Dobrovits have done a great deal in discovering the Vámbéry life-work.


Who may become the members of the college? Do you count on researchers from other countries as well?
The members of the college will be such researchers, who have participated in the work so far. I am talking about numerous scientists, not only from Hungary, but from England, Russia, Turkey and Slovakia as well. The numerous tasks will be shared, the research should be coordinated and the results of certain researches should be exchanged among research centres. It requires the organization of conferences and making the results accessible as soon as possible for the wide spectrum of public. Here, in the Lilium Aurum Publisher House we have launched two book series. One contains Vámbéry works and texts about him. The tome introducing his Persian travels appeared right for the date of the Conference. The other series is the Vámbéry Studies; two tomes have appeared so far, containing the material of the two Conferences. We suppose that these two series are suitable for publishing the manuscripts of the Vámbéry Scientific College, not only in Hungarian: we would like to have the Hungarian works to be translated into English and the English ones into Hungarian. In case if we are successful in the realisation of the plan, the Vámbéry Scientific College may become one of the most important research centres of Orientalism in Europe.
The centre will be in Dunaszerdahely, whereas the members of the College live far away from each other. How will they keep in touch?

Primarily - this is quite evident - via electronic mail, it means that Dunaszerdahely will serve only as sort of a virtual centre of this organization. But the conferences will be organised here and the books will be published here as well. Otherwise there are Orientalism Departments at many European universities and alongside education there exist certain form of the research, but the communication among them is only incidental and sporadic. But the harmonization of research plans could be very advantageous for everyone. If the scientists living far away from each other accepted the virtual centre, if they saw the possibility that it was worth the participation, it would have a great benefit from the viewpoint of European-wide Orientalism. It is encouraging that Vámbéry Conferences organized so far were followed with interest by the professionals and many individuals have applied at us to provide information or to ask for manuscripts. Therefore we would like to satisfy already existing demands in organized way.

Orientalism is a really wide notion. From the cultural anthropology on to the ethnography, from religious research to linguistics disciplines and social studies it includes a lot. Will the coordination work specialize on any fields?

No. Orientalism and consequently our activity should preserve their colourfulness because our aim - this is more important for Europe being in the process of integration - is to discover this part of the world as deeply as possible and from the most viewpoints. Without an interdisciplinary aspect it is impossible. In addition East as such is a really wide notion as well and we do not want to narrow it to those territories which were visited by Vámbéry at that time. Our motto can be this: In the steps of Vámbéry - and further …